Center will help disabled
By Jennifer Vickers
Daily Cougar Staff
As workers begin construction on a new
building to service students with special needs, Cheryl Amoruso, Director
of the Center for Students
with DisABILITIES, says she is hopeful
the building's amenities will increase the quality of education for UH's
The University officially broke ground
on the new center Tuesday.
Stephen Edinger/The Daily
Ground broke Tuesday on the
new Center for Students with DisABILITIES. The $1.2 million center is set
to be completed by September.
The building, which is scheduled for completion
in September, will include testing rooms, a conference room and technology
said. More importantly, she said, the
building will be completely accessible with electronic doors, special flooring
for wheelchairs, hands-free
sinks and toilets and other modifications.
"I asked a blind student what kind of paint
he preferred and he told me he wanted smooth paint," Amoruso said. She
said students told her
rough paint cut the knuckles of visually
impaired students when they felt the walls to gauge their location.
The CSD is now housed on the third floor
of the Student Services Building. The new building, to be located adjacent
to the Health Center and
Taub Hall, will be double the former center's
size, at nearly 6,000 sq. feet, and will eliminate many safety concerns,
"It would be hard to get students in wheelchairs
out of the existing office if there were a fire," Amoruso said.
The $1.2 million building was designed
after Amoruso evaluated student services offices at other universities
and with recommendations by a
committee of staff, students and faculty,
The new CSD technology center will feature
accessible computer terminals and specialized voice- activated systems
that do not work in other
computer labs because of ambient noise,
"It's convenient to have it here so students
can come in and use it when they take tests," she said. "We're working
on raising funds to buy some
The new building will not negatively effect
campus residents' parking near the center, Amoruso said. Parking near the
new building that's
reserved for health center staff will
be converted to handicapped parking, she said.
Additionally, the basketball courts across
from the new CSD will be converted to a parking lot for staff and visitors.
There is a possibility that one
of the tennis courts, also located across
from the new building, will become a basketball court.
"The new building will enhance our ability
to help students with physical and learning disabilities," said Elwyn C.
Lee, vice president for student
affairs. The building will benefit the
UH community at large by allowing for increased diversity, he said.
The University is a leader in service to
students with disabilities, Amoruso said.
"When I surveyed the other universities
in Texas, none of their offices were specifically designed for students
with disabilities," Amoruso said.
Instead, offices that provide services
to disabled students are placed in existing office structures, she said.